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HDT's Top 50 Green Fleets

Industry leaders show there are many paths to sustainability, from better mpg to alternative fuels to “green” facilities.

November 2015, TruckingInfo.com - Cover Story

by Deborah Lockridge, Editor-in-Chief - Also by this author

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AmeriPride has replaced more than 40% of its fleet, which currently totals close to 1,900 vehicles. This includes 15 natural gas-fueled trucks, six hybrid-electric cargo vans, three hydraulic hybrid trucks and five propane-fueled trucks.
AmeriPride has replaced more than 40% of its fleet, which currently totals close to 1,900 vehicles. This includes 15 natural gas-fueled trucks, six hybrid-electric cargo vans, three hydraulic hybrid trucks and five propane-fueled trucks.

HDT’s 2015 Top Green Fleets leave no stone unturned in their quest for better fuel economy, lower emissions, and less impact on the environment.

Lower diesel and gasoline prices may have damped down some of the excitement about natural gas and other alternative fuels, but for many of those on our third annual list, it’s still an important part of their sustainability strategy.

And alternative fuels are hardly the only “green” tactic out there. Fuel economy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions are the primary strategy for many of our honorees, with many reporting 8, 9, even 10 mpg rigs or close to it. Interestingly, some of the fuel-saving tactics that may have landed a fleet on our first Top 50 list aren’t quite as innovative today, as things like trailer skirts, 6x2 axle configurations and automated transmissions have become more common.

In addition, facilities improvements, such as adding solar panels, electric charging for refrigeration units, energy-efficient lighting, etc., were also considered.

We paid more attention this year to what fleets have done in the past year. And we looked harder this year at what fleets are doing to inspire and educate others about how to improve their own sustainability efforts.

AmeriPride Services Inc.

Minnetonka, Minn.

This private fleet operates nearly 1,900 vehicles, including 131 heavy-duty and 1,420 Class 3-6 tractors and trucks. It has replaced more than 40% of its fleet since 2010. Trailer skirting was added on all semi-trailers that travel more than 50 miles per day, increasing mileage efficiency by 5.3%. Aerodynamic double-decker trailers carry 60% more product per shuttle run while increasing fuel economy by 1.2 mpg. The company is operating 15 natural gas-fueled trucks, six XL Hybrid (hybrid electric) cargo vans, three hydraulic hybrid trucks and five propane-fueled trucks. It’s buying 20 additional propane vehicles, 20 additional CNG vehicles, 10 electric trucks and a CNG tractor.

 

B&B Trucking Inc.

Kalamazoo, Mich.

More than 75% of this for-hire fleet’s trailers have skirting or under-tray devices, including full-length trailer skirts from Wabash. It is retrofitting Class 6 box trucks with side skirting. It uses low-rolling-resistance tires, including wide-base singles. All Class 8 trucks have cab roof air deflectors and cab extenders, and most side chassis fairings. Idling is reduced with 5-minute shutdown settings and auxiliary climate control on all 85 sleeper tractors. More than half of the approximately 200-truck fleet has been converted to 4x2 or 6x2 axle configurations. All Class 8 trucks use full synthetic fluids in the driveline, and a solar array recently was installed at the main terminal.

 

Beemac Trucking LLC

Ambridge, Pa.

This fleet with close to 200 vehicles believes it may be the first operation in the country to operate compressed natural gas tractors with flatbed trailers. It bought 20 CNG Volvo units to replace 20 diesel units, which run in a local Pittsburgh operation. It also built a public CNG fueling facility in Ambridge to support its fueling needs. It will be purchasing an additional 15 CNG units in the first quarter of 2016. In addition to flatbeds, it has van, curtainside, straight truck and intermodal and drayage operations.

 

Cargo Transporters

Claremont, N.C.

This for-hire fleet of nearly 500 trucks in the past year has converted its standard tractor spec to include a renewable source auxiliary air conditioning unit for the cab, wide-base single tires, automated transmissions, cab aerodynamic package, limited idle time based on ambient air temperature, and tire pressure monitoring. On trailers, the standard spec now includes wide-base tires, aerodynamic skirting and smooth wall trailer sides. Vehicles also now use LED lighting as standard. In operations buildings and shops, all lighting has been converted to LED. Driver loaner cars at the terminal have also been converted to electric hybrids.

 

Celadon Trucking Services uses software and information management tools to save fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions, which helps with their nearly 4,000-vehicle fleet.
Celadon Trucking Services uses software and information management tools to save fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions, which helps with their nearly 4,000-vehicle fleet.
Celadon Trucking Services

Indianapolis, Ind.

With nearly 4,000 vehicles, Celadon uses software and information management tools to save fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Average tractor age is 1.2 years. Battery-powered auxiliary power units in every truck have cut the moving average of idle percentage of total engine time from 34.1% in 2011 to 13.3% in 2015. All new engines are calibrated to produce less than 30 grams of NOx at idle. Every unit is EPA SmartWay-certified, including the latest aerodynamic packages, low rolling resistance tires, aluminum rims, 125-gallon fuel tanks, 224-inch wheelbase on long-haul tractors, shortened fifth wheel slide assembly from 24 to 12 inches, and shortened trailer to tractor gaps.

 

Central Trucking

Edinburgh, Ind.

A 200-plus-truck refrigerated for-hire fleet, Central boasts 9 mpg on its new equipment. Tractors feature auxiliary power units, aerodynamic skirting, top fairings, wide-base single tires, tire pressure monitoring systems, Michelin Energy tires on steer and drive axles, viscous drive fan clutch, speed limited to 65 mph road speed in cruise control/62 mph not in cruise, wheel covers, Flow Below aero skirting package, flow-through aero mud flaps, Eaton Advantage automated manual transmissions, Eaton Smart Coast, and Peterbilt’s Epiq fuel efficiency package. Trailers have side skirts and Stemco TrailerTails.

 

City of Phoenix Public Works Fleet Services Division

Phoenix, Ariz.

In 2013, the department created a Sustainable Fleet Strategy, which among other things calls for 65% of the city’s fleet to operate on alternative/clean burning fuel by 2020. It also aims to improve the fuel economy of the petroleum fuel fleet by 15% by 2020. Currently the fleet has more than 6,700 vehicles. More than 1,100 run on B20 biodiesel, 665 on CNG, 199 on LNG, 135 on bi-fuel CNG, 129 electric, 10 hybrid electric, and six hydraulic hybrids. It has eight CNG fueling sites. The majority of refuse truck purchases will be CNG for the foreseeable future.

 

The Coca-Cola Company

Atlanta, Ga.

When signing the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge this year, Coca-Cola pledged an across-the-board reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020. The company will continue to add delivery trucks powered by a mix of alternative fuels, including electricity, natural gas, diesel-electric and biodiesel. In California, it announced a doubling of its 2013 commitment in the state, adding charging stations at seven facilities and deploying 28 hybrid-electric service vans. Coca-Cola currently operates more than 900 alternative fuel delivery vehicles on the road and it says its heavy-duty hybrid electric truck fleet is the largest in North America.

 

With an average tractor fleet age of 2.1 years, Con-way Truckload has plans to be 100% CARB-compliant by year end after installing more than 2,000 skirts on new and existing trailers in 2015.
With an average tractor fleet age of 2.1 years, Con-way Truckload has plans to be 100% CARB-compliant by year end after installing more than 2,000 skirts on new and existing trailers in 2015.
Con-way Truckload

Joplin, Mo.

The 2,850-truck for-hire fleet was a 2015 SmartWay Excellence Award winner. Average tractor fleet age is currently 2.1 years, and dropping. The trailer fleet will be 100% CARB-compliant by year end, having installed more than 2,000 skirts on new and existing trailers in 2015. All tractors are equipped with ambient idle shutdown technology to reduce idling. Earlier this year, Con-way Truckload ordered 635 new Kenworth and Freightliner tractors equipped with automated manual transmissions, hiking the percentage of trucks with AMTs from 23% to 48% of the fleet. Con-way has also incorporated an onboard scorecard that shows drivers how fuel efficient their driving was that day.

 

County of Sonoma, Calif.

Santa Rosa, Calif.

The county operates one of the largest hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric government fleets in the United States. It has also been an industry leader by integrating advanced alternative fuel technologies into the fleet such as hybrid electric diesel heavy-duty trucks that reduced fuel consumption by up to 50%. It has earned numerous local, state, regional, national and international awards.

Comments

  1. 1. Kenneth w Scott [ November 16, 2015 @ 07:26AM ]

    My 12.7 Detroit leaves less of a foot print than all of ta

  2. 2. John carney [ May 05, 2016 @ 04:46AM ]

    Deborah, would you consider running a story about our new CNG Station in Lake Jackson, it's our first (of many to come) and the first public private partnership CNG in Texas and one of the very first in the US. John. 214 5490555

 

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